De­spite Lippi, China’s World Cup dreams dashed again

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Mar­cello Lippi's first game as China's coach ended in a 0-0 draw with Qatar in the third round of qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the 2018 World Cup in Kun­ming yes­ter­day.

The draw leaves China with just two points after five games, mak­ing it al­most cer­tain that it will not qual­ify for the fi­nals in Rus­sia.

Lippi, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, was ap­pointed in Oc­to­ber fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Gao Hongbo.

China, look­ing to re­turn to the World Cup for the first time since 2002, was close to scor­ing on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions but just could not find a way through.

JA­PAN 2, SAUDI ARA­BIA 1 A first-half penalty from Hiroshi Kiy­otake helped Ja­pan to a much-needed 2-1 win over Saudi Ara­bia in Saitama, Ja­pan.

A handball in the area gave Kiy­otake his op­por­tu­nity in the 45th minute, and Genki Haraguchi added a sec­ond for Ja­pan with 11 min­utes re­main­ing.

Omar Haw­sawi scored for Saudi Ara­bia with a minute left.

The vic­tory moves Ja­pan level with Saudi Ara­bia with 10 points after five Group B games and marks the first loss for Saudi Ara­bia, which still holds the top spot on goal dif­fer­en­tial.

S. KOREA 2, UZBEK­ISTAN 1 A late goal from Koo Ja-cheol gave South Korea a cru­cial come­from-be­hind win over Uzbek­istan in Seoul.

The Bun­desliga mid­fielder scored with five min­utes re­main­ing to put South Korea, aim­ing for a ninth con­sec­u­tive World Cup ap­pear­ance, ahead of Uzbek­istan and into sec­ond place in Group A be­hind Iran.

Uzbek­istan's Mi­rat Bik­maev scored from out­side the area in the 25th minute, with Nam Tae­hee mak­ing it 1-1 mid­way through the sec­ond half.

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